Starting Nov. 15, a much improved healthcare.gov website and 1,000 more national call center representatives will be available to help new and returning individuals apply for coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
In Milwaukee, a variety of community-based organizations, health care providers, the City of Milwaukee Community Health Assistance Program (CHAP) and a number of insurance agents are ready to provide in-person assistance through Feb. 15, when the open enrollment period ends. Again this year, IMPACT 2-1-1 will serve as the local information and referral call center for individuals looking for enrollment assistance in public or private insurance options.
Danielle Coterel, outreach specialist with Covering Kids & Families, noted, “National research shows that nine in 10 uninsured are unaware that open enrollment starts on Nov. 15. Given that 90 percent of marketplace enrollees received financial support for their insurance coverage in 2014, it’s important that everyone knows that free, in-person assistance is available throughout the community.”
“We want individuals to know that there are just three simple steps to the enrollment process,” said Heather Dummer Combs, Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN) enrollment project manager.
- When prepared with their current income and insurance information, the first step for consumers is to check to see if they qualify for financial help, such as premium subsidies.
- Next, shop for a plan that includes the providers they want and fits their budget.
- The final step is to pick a plan, or keep the plan they already have. Consumers must also pay their first premium for marketplace coverage effective Jan. 1.
“Our community was tremendously successful in enrolling Milwaukeeans during the first open enrollment period earlier this year,” explained Joy Tapper, executive director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, co-convener of MKEN.
“But,” Tapper added, “there are still about 100,000 low-income, uninsured individuals in the county, most of whom are employed.”
Starting Nov. 15, consumers can learn more about eligibility for enrollment in the marketplace as well as BadgerCare Plus, for Medicaid recipients, by visiting healthcare.gov or calling the Health Insurance Marketplace national call center at 1-800-318-2596 (open 24 hours, seven days a week).
On Nov. 15, community members can attend these programs for help with enrollment: Outreach Community Health Centers at 210 W. Capital Drive from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center at 1711 S. 11th St. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; La Murguia Head Start at 1645 S. 36th St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and South Eastern Oneida Tribal Services at 6811 W. Morgan Ave. from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
To get connected to free, in-person enrollment assistance in Milwaukee County, consumers should dial 2-1-1.